Govt policy against unvaxxed pushed

PRESIDENTIAL Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd has expressed support to the “No vax, no labas” policy that limits the mobility of unvaccinated individuals to essential activities amid the spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the country.

Concepcion, founder of Go Negosyo, said that such policy will protect those unvaccinated from hospitalization as the country continues to see a rise in Covid-19 cases.

The Philippines recorded its highest number of Covid cases in a single day on Saturday at 39,004, according to the Department of Health (DoH).

“Nakikita natin iyong mga unvaccinated (We see that those unvaccinated), they will be restricted even in public transportation, even in entering malls. So, halos the movement will be confined lang sa bahay nila (to their homes), and it’s for their own good. It’s not that they are being deprived of their right to freedom to move, but they are being protected from getting this Omicron and possibly filling up the hospitals,” Concepcion said during a virtual briefing on Friday.

“So, hopefully, the move of Metro Manila mayors and it’s already snowballing to the rest of the different LGUs (local government units) sa buong bansa natin (in the entire country), I think we will have more of them taking the vaccines or marami rin diyan gustong gumawa ng bakuna pero medyo mabagal lang ang pagkilos nila (or perhaps a lot of them would like to produce their own vaccines except that they are slow in going about it). So, with all of these, hopefully they can get vaccinated as soon as possible kasi marami nang bakuna natin dito (because we have a lot of vaccines). Close to 100 million vaccines are in the country as we speak,” he added.

A TALE OF TWO VILLAGES Residents of two villages in Manila and Pasay are on opposite sides of the Covid-19 spectrum as the government returns to stringent measures to contain a resurgence of the virus. In Barangay Intramuros in Manila, people walk freely on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, amid a sign that its residents are ‘100 percent vaccinated.’ Such is not the case in Barangay 61 in Pasay City, also on Saturday, where a sign outside its gate read that it was on lockdown. PHOTOS BY MIKE ALQUINTO AND JOHN RYAN BALDEMOR

A TALE OF TWO VILLAGES Residents of two villages in Manila and Pasay are on opposite sides of the Covid-19 spectrum as the government returns to stringent measures to contain a resurgence of the virus. In Barangay Intramuros in Manila, people walk freely on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, amid a sign that its residents are ‘100 percent vaccinated.’ Such is not the case in Barangay 61 in Pasay City, also on Saturday, where a sign outside its gate read that it was on lockdown. PHOTOS BY MIKE ALQUINTO AND JOHN RYAN BALDEMOR

At least in Metro Manila, unvaccinated people are barred from leisure visits to the mall, dining establishments, and even public transportation.

Some LGUs across the country are also adopting the policy as Covid-19 cases skyrocketed following the holidays and the presence of the Omicron variant in the country.

Despite the steadily rising cases of infection, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) opted to extend until January 31 the Alert Level 3 for the National Capital Region (NCR/Metro Manila) and several other areas.

Meanwhile, Concepcion reiterated that there is no need for the IATF to implement a stricter alert level system, particularly in Metro Manila, as people are doing “voluntary lockdown” in their homes.

He also said mobility in NCR has slowed down since the spike of Covid-19 cases after the holidays.

“That is why they are resistant to going out, and their mobility has gone down. I was telling [that] when they were proposing for Alert Level 4, the mere fact that people are staying at home is a voluntary lockdown, it’s like Alert Level 4,” he said.

Although the new wave in Covid-19 cases will likely hit the momentum of economic recovery, Concepcion is hopeful that the number of infections will slow down by the end of the month or early February.

“Pero ang tingin ko dito, marami ang nagsasabi, at ang partner namin si OCTA Research, palagay ko darating tayo ng point na babagsak din ang mga kaso na ito. Nakikita natin sa ibang lugar na nagpi-peak iyan (But what I think here, what our partners are saying, OCTA Research, we will come to a point that cases will drop. We’ve seen in other places that it will peak) and then eventually, it stabilizes and starts to go down; and we’ve seen that. And we’ve seen that even with Delta noong (even) before the fourth quarter,” he said.

The Go Negosyo founder said that the government should remain focused on its vaccine rollout and giving booster shots.

Since Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon have high vaccination rates, Concepcion said the government should speed up inoculating people in the Visayas and Mindanao to avoid high utilization of hospital facilities.

As of January 13, a total of 54,457,863 persons have completed vaccination. This is 70.6 percent of the target population, according to the National Task Force Against Covid-19.

The government has, so far, administered 117,337,626 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, of which 58,510,560 were first doses while 4,403,780 were boosters.